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Why IQ-Tests are overrated

IQ Tests are often utilised by companies and organisations to judge potential candidates' suitability for an applied role. How accurate are IQ Tests though? Do they really measure our intelligence? Well, in reality, all that an IQ-Test will ever be able to measure is your ability to solve IQ-Test questions. Here are a few other reasons why to not take IQ-Tests to seriously.

Luck of the draw

Take two different IQ-Tests and compare your scores. Don't be surprised if you come up with a 20 point gap between the two results. One of the tests might have simply been more suited to your strengths. So to gain a reliable picture of a candidates' ability to take IQ-Tests, an average of multiple tests would be needed. When was the last time an organisation asked you to take multiple IQ-Tests? Never? Thought so.

Practice makes perfect

Yes, even IQ-Tests can be practiced. After taking a few (and actually checking the answers afterwards and learning where you have gone wrong) you can easily start putting up genius standard scores. As with any test, learning what is expected of you is a big step towards success. Most IQ-Test questionaires use similar questions, so after you have taken a few you should know a lot of the answers, or with the mental rotation tasks have developed an effective problem solving methode.

What is your cultural background?

Since most questions found on IQ-Tests are based on school like subjects (maths and language use), they are of a huge disadvantage to individuals raised with a different mother tongue or cultural background. How many foreigners with English as a second language will know the answer to "How many swallows make a summer?". Political correctness gone mad aside, when ever someone is given an IQ-Test the option should be there to complete it in their native language. Afterall, the idea is to test inteligence, not language skills.


IQ-Tests therefore might be a good idea in controlled university envrionments, but are less than ideal for corperate entities measuring the capabilites of subjects with a variety of culural and learning backgrounds. In my opinion problem solving has always been a greater indication of inteligence compared to the ability to regurgitate learnt information.

A 40 year old construction worker may have long forgotten what exactly a prime number is, yet still be more capable at coming up with ingenious solutions on a building site than a maths student. Furthermore a winner of the quiz show 'The Weakest Link' might look like a fool on 'A Question of Sport' and vice versa. We have all afterall got different interests and are "experts" on a variety of subjects.

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